National Officer Slate

The MTNA Nominating Committee has prepared a slate consisting of two candidates for each officer position. The names of each candidate and their biographies may be below. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the candidates. Then cast your ballot for the persons you want to represent you. You may vote for only one candidate for each office. Voting closes Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time.

To vote online:

  1. Click on the “Vote Now” button
  2. Enter the first few letters of your last name and wait for a list of names to appear, select your name and enter your zip code. Click Select. On the following page, enter your member number and click Submit.

You can also download and print the ballot by clicking on the "Download Ballot" button, then completing the ballot and mailing with first-class postage.

Voting via email is also an option:

  1. Send an email to with
    • Your Name
    • Your Member Number
    • The name of the Officer candidates for whom you are voting

Please exercise your right as an active member to vote. If you have any questions, please contact the MTNA National Headquarters at or (888) 512-5278.

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Kevin Chance
Kevin Chance, NCTM

“MTNA has been an invaluable part of my development since my earliest years of study, and the support and encouragement I received from the local, state and national levels of our association are a large reason why I chose to become a professional musician. The events provided motivation, and the encouragement that I received from the members made me feel affirmed and valued as a young student. As a young professional, MTNA was a vital part of starting my career, and I continue to grow from our conferences and the vast network of colleagues that MTNA provides.
   “I have certainly been reminded of the importance of our organization during the past two years. I do not know how I would have navigated teaching through the pandemic had I not taken advantage of the knowledge and resources that MTNA offered, and I have been grateful that MTNA found virtual ways to keep us connected. Likewise, I have frequently been reminded how critical musical instruction is to the emotional health and development of our students, and I continue to realize each day how noble our profession is.
   “From my perspective, it is more critical than ever that we continue to invest in keeping MTNA a vibrant, dynamic organization that supports us as colleagues while continuing to foster future generations of musicians. MTNA is a multi-generational organization, and each generation within our membership has unique needs. I feel it is important for us to continue to listen and respond to the needs of our newest colleagues as well as our most seasoned members and continue to work not only at the national level but also at the state and local levels to be sure that we are creatively thinking of programs and resources that will benefit the breadth of our diverse membership.
   “I have volunteered for MTNA at the local and state levels since I began my career, and I have served with the Southern Division Competitions for 13 years. At the national level, I was elected as the Southern Division director, and I recently finished my term as the national vice president. Each opportunity I have to give back to MTNA in any way for what it has provided me as a student and as a professional is a privilege, and I would be deeply honored to serve as our next president,” he says.


Cindy Peterson-Peart
Cindy Peterson-Peart, NCTM

Cindy Peterson-Peart, NCTM, is an independent piano teacher who has maintained a vibrant private studio in Beaverton, Oregon, for more than 30 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Willamette University and is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician.
   Cindy currently holds the office of MTNA Vice President for Membership and chairs the Membership Committee. Previous MTNA leadership roles have included Northwest Division Director (2018–2020), Membership Committee (2016–2020), Collegiate Chapters Forum Chair (2018– 2020), Chair of the State Presidents Advisory Council, and Senior Coordinator for the MTNA Performance Competitions at the state and division levels.
   Cindy is active in the Oregon Music Teachers Association and works on several state and local committees. She has served as president of OMTA, State Conference chair, president of Portland District MTA and treasurer of Portland District. She was honored to be named Oregon’s 2020 MTNA Foundation Fellow as well as to receive Honorary State Life Membership in 2021.
   As a collaborative pianist, Cindy enjoys performing with Too Grand!, an eight-hand piano ensemble that donates private concert proceeds to local charities. They have raised more than $400,000 to date, a wonderful testament to the power of music.
   “As a teacher, fostering a life-long love of music is my mission, and it brings me immense joy to send my students off into the world as confident, sensitive musicians and committed patrons of the arts. As a leader, my aspiration has always been to encourage innovative thinking and to respond creatively to the times in which we find ourselves. The past two years have been challenging, to say the least. Many of us have had to rethink what it means to be a teacher and what role we, and music, play in our students’ lives. MTNA has been an invaluable support during these times and in years past. I can honestly say MTNA has shaped who I am as a teacher, musician and colleague. I am committed to providing that valued support to the next generation of teachers. I am honored and humbled to be nominated and to have the opportunity to give back to this incredible organization. I have a passion for the programs that have always made MTNA great as well as an excitement for new initiatives that will continue to support our members and their students. If elected, I will work diligently with your amazing MTNA Board to embrace the challenges and wonders that lie ahead,” she says.


Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


Gulimina Mahamuti
Gulimina Mahamuti, NCTM

Growing up in western China, Gulimina Mahamuti, DMA, NCTM,, saw the world through two different cultures. First, that of the Uyghur people and that of the Han majority. As the first Uyghur from China to receive a DMA degree in piano performance from the U.S., she debuted major works at Carnegie Hall, performed piano concerti, gave solo and collaborative performances in Montreal, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Budapest and across the U.S. and China and broadcasted on radio and TV programs. As a pianist, Gulimina promotes music of various cultures and advocates for lesser-known repertoire. Her CD recording on Xinjiang Piano Music from Western China presents to the world the unique piano literature of the underrepresented ethnicities of China, features works by the Chinese-American female composer Chen Yi and by the ethnomusicologist and composer Shi Fu. Her editorial work on Shi Fu’s Three Xinjiang Piano Suites was acknowledged by the distinguished Shanghai Music Publishing House. Gulimina’s thesis on Shi Fu’s Suites became the main reference for Chinese and western music scholars. She was interviewed frequently by Chinese media and was featured on the radio in San Francisco, Queens College/ CUNY podcast, China Touch Radio and Istanbul Technical University Radio. With her duo partner, George Lopez, artist-in-residence of Bowdoin College, they advocate for piano music reflecting diversified themes and repertoire.
   Gulimina was a part-time assistant professor of music at Ohio Wesleyan University before moving to Maine, where she serves as Maine MTA’s immediate past president. She is a member of MTNA’s DEI committee. As a piano professor, she fosters music learning experiences to students with learning disabilities and students from farming communities, including immigrant families. She volunteered at the Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center, a predominately African-American community, where she instills a love of music and piano while developing students’ technical skills and performance levels. The Ohio House of Representatives passed a special resolution to thank her dedication in teaching. “In this pivotal time witnessing a nationwide call for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I see MTNA as a cradle that nurtures love and passion for members and students while fostering a culture that reflects people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. If I am elected MTNA Vice President of DEI, it will allow me to help lead MTNA on national and international scales with a vision that reflects the diversity, equity and inclusion of America and the world in the 21st century,” she says.


William Chapman Nyaho, NCTM

William Chapman Nyaho, NCTM, a Ghanaian American, is an active solo recitalist, duo pianist and chamber musician, giving recitals and concerts throughout the United States and in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean.
   He regularly serves as a guest clinician at colleges and universities around the United States and adjudicates for national and international piano competitions.
   Chapman Nyaho’s professional experience includes being a North Carolina Visiting Artist and associate professor of music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he held the Heymann Endowed Professorship and was the recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award. He has served as visiting professor of piano at Colby College and Pomona College, as well as artist-in-residence at Willamette University. He has also been on the summer faculty of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Chapman Nyaho currently serves on the piano faculty at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington as well as operating a private teaching studio in Seattle. In addition to teaching, Chapman Nyaho has served on several board of trustees including the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.
   A strong advocate for music by composers of African descent, Chapman Nyaho’s publications include a five-volume anthology entitled Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora [Oxford University Press] for which he received the 2022 MTNA-Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award. He has recorded three CDs of solo piano music by composers of African Descent titled Senku, Asa and Kete on the MSR Classics label. He has also recorded Aaron Copland: Music for Two Pianos and the recently released Five by Four as the Nyaho/ Garcia Duo. Chapman Nyaho earned his degrees from St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève in Switzerland.
   “Having grown up straddling different music cultures, I try to highlight and celebrate diversity of thought, teaching styles tailored to the student’s uniqueness, as well as strongly advocating diversity of voices in art music, I am thus particularly honored to have been nominated by MTNA to be the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that promotes and facilitates the growth of the music teacher in all areas of the field,” he says.

Vice President for Membership


Barbara Fast
Barbara Fast, NCTM

Barbara Fast, NCTM, serves on the piano faculty at the University of Oklahoma as director of piano pedagogy and piano area chair, where she coordinates the group piano program as well as teaches graduate and undergraduate piano pedagogy. Numerous teaching awards at OU include: David Ross Boyd Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching, Regents Award for Superior Teaching and the Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts Award. Former faculty appointments include the University of Northern Iowa, Hesston College and Woodstock International School in India.
   As an active member of MTNA, Barbara served as the 2020–2022 South Central Division director. Additionally, she served on the MTNA e-Journal Editorial committee. At the state level, she served on the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association (OMTA) Board as president and Collegiate Chapter representative. Collaborating with the leadership team of OMTA while organizing two state conferences and encouraging new and younger members for the OMTA Board were highlights.
   Mentoring students and young professionals remains a priority for Barbara, and the OU Collegiate Chapter won the MTNA Chapter of the Year award three different years. In recognition of her guidance of students, Barbara was the recipient of the Oklahoma Music Teacher of the Year award.
   Barbara also co-founded the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum (GP3) in 2000, a biannual conference. Active on the GP3 Executive committee, she appreciates MTNA’s commitment to fostering teaching in higher education as well as independent studios.
   A culmination of her interest in effective teaching, learning and practicing, resulted in the book iPractice: Technology in the 21st Century Music Practice Room (Oxford). Fast has presented at numerous conferences and webinars focused on practicing, the brain and learning and performance anxiety.
   “I believe that the broad scope of MTNA, an organization that embraces all musicians, performers as well as teachers, is the professional platform that allows us to learn and to grow. Friendships formed, new knowledge gained and shared at the local, state and national level, is easily fostered within MTNA. MTNA has served as the connecting point for me professionally throughout my life. I am honored to be nominated and will work diligently to help make a difference in the lives of current and future members through MTNA,” she says.


Yelena Wells
Yelena Wells

Yelena Wells holds a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance and a master of music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. She has taught college music classes for more than 20 years. Her expertise includes applied and class piano, music history and music appreciation. Her leadership roles include conducting recruitment workshops and overseeing community music school preparatory program. She is a frequent adjudicator for Michigan’s state and local piano competitions.
   Yelena has served on the board of Michigan Music Teachers Association as the technology and communications chair for the past six years. She has also served as president, vice president, historian, and marketing chair of her local association, the Piano Teachers Forum of Grand Rapids. Yelena has a passion for helping individuals and chapters develop and grow their online visibility. She has presented on “Marketing Your Studio” and “Social Media 101” at the local, state and national levels.
   As a business leader, Yelena serves on the board of Grand Rapids Business Breakfast advocating professional development and business networking. Her interests include nonprofit fundraising and development. She has led fundraising efforts for local non-profits including Samuel Omogo Foundation, Henna Crowns of Courage and Ama International. Yelena understands the value of networking in building relationships, bringing awareness and developing growth. She has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Business Networking International and Toastmasters.
   Yelena is the recipient of the League for Innovation John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award, Grand Rapids Community College Excellence in Education Faculty Award, Teacher of the Year from the Piano Teacher’s Forum of Grand Rapids and most recently, the Distinguished Service Award from Michigan Music Teachers Association.
   “MTNA is an organization like no other! Having joined MTNA as a college student, I have reaped the benefits of membership through lifelong friendships, service opportunities and professional support. I am honored to be nominated for the vice president of membership position and look forward to furthering the mission of MTNA by strengthening, growing and diversifying its membership,” she says.



Heather Smith
Heather Smith, NCTM

Heather Smith, NCTM maintains a multi-faceted career as a music educator, administrator and community arts advocate. She serves on the MTNA Development Committee (2016–current) and the MTNA Business Network (2021–current). Heather also served on the 2020 MTNA Conference Planning Committee. She is the director of development and advancement for The Frances Clark Center and is the co-creator of The Frances Clark Center’s online course, A Pianist’s Guide to Studio Management. Heather is a member of the College of Examiners for The Royal Conservatory of Music and examines students throughout North America. She has written several articles that were published in American Music Teacher, the MTNA Business Digest and Piano Magazine.
   As a Certified Change Leader with the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, she regularly organizes local and national fundraising events to support music teachers, students and communities through the musical arts. Heather oversaw the creation of the Lenora Ford Brown Recital Venue in a local art center in her hometown. In 2021, she was awarded the Advocacy in Action Award by the Utah Music Teachers Association for her dedication to the betterment of Utah’s music and arts culture.
   Heather received a bachelor of music degree and a master of music degree in piano performance from the University of Utah. In addition to her music degrees, she has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Maryville University and an MBA from Westminster College. Heather worked as a tax manager for several years before switching careers to become a music teacher. Formerly the assistant director and associate instructor at the University of Utah’s School of Music Preparatory Division, Heather now teaches private lessons and group classes in her home studio in Centerville, Utah.
   “MTNA has been an integral part of my professional and personal life over the past 20 years. Not only have I benefited from the continuing education and career development opportunities, I have been enriched by networking with wonderful colleagues whom I now consider my friends. I am grateful for the example of so many who have given selfless voluntary service for our association. I would consider it an honor to utilize my experience in music and business and serve as an officer to support MTNA as secretary-treasurer,” she says.


Beverly Smoker
Beverly Smoker

Beverly Smoker is professor emerita of music at Nazareth College, where she served as coordinator of keyboard studies and taught piano, piano pedagogy and literature. She retired in May 2017 as chair of the music department and director of the master of music in performance and pedagogy. She previously taught at Cornell, Grinnell and Coe Colleges and at the University of Iowa, and for several years, also maintained a private piano studio in her home. Her students have earned undergraduate and graduate music degrees at universities throughout the country and maintain careers as pedagogues and performing artists.
   A long-term MTNA member, Beverly has presented many lectures, workshops and performances for national and state conferences as well as for local community organizations. Numerous appearances as pianist include performances on the Knitting Factory Composer Series in New York City and recordings for Centaur Records and ABC Radio in Brisbane, Australia. She presents a wide range of repertoire including recitals and workshops devoted to 20th-century music, and has premiered several works written for her. Beverly was a recipient of a Gramma Fisher Fellowship at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and for 10 years, a recipient of solo touring grants from the Iowa Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts. In 2017 she was honored with the Rochester Philharmonic’s Outstanding Music Educators Special Award.
   Beverly has enjoyed the opportunity to serve NYSMTA as president, immediate past president, co-vice president for conferences, vice president for professional activities and new music review chair. Active in her local association, she served as district chair for a several years. She was recently awarded the 2022 NYSMTA Citation.
   “MTNA has always been a part of my life in music. MTNA gave me some of my first adjudication opportunities; competitions and festivals provided opportunities for my students; local and state associations linked me to mentors, colleagues and lifelong friends. As a young teacher, I was inspired and educated by the performance, master class and lecture presentations at MTNA Conferences. Today, I am equally inspired and educated by the offerings of our 2022 MTNA Virtual Conference. Truly MTNA has evolved to meet the needs of its members. Since its inception, MTNA has remained constant in connecting and supporting music teachers with educational, professional and artistic programs and pivotal in establishing and sustaining our profession as viable and relevant in an ever-changing world. It would be my great honor to serve our organization as Secretary-Treasurer,” she says.